TOP TECHNOLOGIES IN THE SUSTAINABLE ENERGY SECTOR
India has committed to reducing the emission intensity of GDP by 45% below 2005 levels by 2030. Our research and development programmes are narrowed down to achieving the target without compromising the growth we intend to achieve. And we are set on several key transitions to achieve low carbon emissions.
Finding alternate sources of renewable energy and adopting energy management systems are one of the main aspects to reduce emission levels. Some recent technology developments in the sustainable energy sector adopted by India are summarized below.
1. Smart Grid Developments
The utilisation of smart grid technology to produce a more agile and robust grid, as well as one that is adaptable and capable of better incorporating sustainable energy, is a must for a sustainable future. India has a roadmap in place for the implementation of smart meters across the country. India has already installed 52,93,062 smart meters in total, until December 2022, of the 1,12,75,739 sanctioned smart meters. Large-scale integration of the grid with smart meters, transformer meters and smart substations, et cetera can bring about a smooth and rapid transition towards renewable energy sources like solar energy and wind energy.
2. Energy Storage Systems
Keeping in view the need for large-scale integration of renewable energy in the future, the aid of Energy Storage Systems (ESS) to assist the variability and intermittency of renewable energy is very important. Indian Smart Grid Forum’s Energy Storage Systems Roadmap for India 2019-2032 helps policymakers and utilities in decision-making related to investments in energy storage, for the integration of renewable energy, leading to a more dependable, consistent and low-carbon grid in India.
3. Hydrogen Economy
Hydrogen is going to be one of the prime energy alternates with a huge potential to reduce carbon emissions. They are expected to be used in process industries, grid balancing functions, fuel cells for power generation, and most importantly in transportation. The technology needs further development fit to reach the end-user level. Green Ammonia, also called Green Hydrogen, has possible applications in thermal power plants and has the potential to become the prime energy source. The Department of Atomic Energy has undertaken the process of developing technologies for Hydrogen production.
4. Nuclear Energy
Nuclear Energy is a significant non-fossil alternative to replace fossil fuel-powered energy generation. It is best for providing even base load power free of intermittency. India pursues continued research in the sector for its limitless potential. The country's current installed nuclear power capacity is 6780 MW, with 22 operational nuclear power reactors. Projects are underway to increase the current capacity to 22480 MW by 2031. It is seemingly right to say there are going to be more nuclear plants in the future. DAE is also developing seawater desalination technology using nuclear power.
5. Biomass-to-Liquids Fuel
Biomass can be converted into Liquid Fuel through thermo-chemical Processes. Agriculture residues are an excellent source to produce Bio-liquid fuel, chemicals, and petrochemical feedstock. 2018 data shows India generated around 683 million tonnes of biomass from just 11 major crops in the country. Research is made to put biomass to good use and produce usable forms of biofuels.
Indian Institute of Petroleum (IIP), one of the constituent laboratories of CSIR has developed a palletization process, to convert biomass into pellet fuels that can have a vast application as fuel for households and small-scale industries. Research in Bio-oil utilization is only going to help reduce our dependence on imported oil and reduce carbon emissions.
6. Cellulosic Ethanol
Cellulosic ethanol produced from cellulosic biomass, such as agricultural leftovers, has several environmental and socioeconomic advantages, including less crop burning and increased energy independence. India’s Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has been working on bioethanol programmes for the last 10 years. It has its own problems with consistency in production and the high cost of the technology involved in production. However, there is scope for improvement in future.
For a country that is big and has very less fossil fuel, it is highly important it has a research mechanism in place, as the output of the global models cannot be readily applied in India. Each technology must be deeply analysed and tailored to the Indian context before introduction. Thus, we can achieve maximum efficiency within the borders of the nation